/// Better Late Than Never? Ballmer Product Pipeline Shows a Very Mixed Record for Microsoft.
Larger-than-life CEO Steve Ballmer will be remembered for a lot of things during his 13-year tenure at Microsoft, but what about the actual products he oversaw? Overall, it is a very mixed bag, with Microsoft late on every major game-changer of Ballmer’s time in office, while rivals like Apple and Google surged ahead. That includes in MP3 players, multi-touch smartphones, multi-touch tablets, search, smart assistants and wireless beaming of video. Better late than never? Not so much. To get an idea of that, here’s a timeline of notable moments in Microsoft’s product history since 2000 and how they fared: Windows 2000 : Microsoft celebrates its 25th anniversary and releases the Windows 2000 operating system the same year Ballmer is promoted to CEO. Microsoft continues to upgrade and support Windows 2000 until July of 2010, during which time multiple vulnerabilities in the system were exposed. Pocket PC 2000 : Microsoft announced the Pocket PC 2000, the company’s first step in the personal digital assistant market. Two years later, the Pocket PC 2002 is released. Some of these Pocket PCs are sold as “phone editions,” meaning they can make cellular calls. Five years later, Microsoft phases out the Pocket PC and Smartphone brands in favor of the more overarching Windows Mobile brand. Windows XP : Touted as the “biggest release since Windows 95,” Microsoft releases the Windows XP operating system in October 2001 with variations of the system for both home and business users. “It features login screens for home and corporate systems alike — something many Windows 95/98 users have never seen,” CNET wrote at the time